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Reaction Paper
in Psych Nursing
By: Gillian Rose L. Imperial

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RAIN MAN (1988)
Rain Man is a story about a man (Charlie Babbitt) who live to earn money. His world change when his father died and only left behind his house and car for him, all the money (3 million dollars) was given to a mental institution as a trust fund. He went to the mental institution and discovered that he has an older brother (Raymond) who has autism. He kidnapped him to gain back what he think was rightfully his in order to solve his financial problem. Charlie did not understand his brother’s disorder at first but as he spends time with him, things begin to take a turn in their relationship. He began to care about someone beside himself. It takes a while, but Charlie does genuinely care for his brother. He cares and loves him so much that in the end, he puts his brother’s need before his own.
The characters in the movie used avoidance as their defense mechanism. First, Charlie avoids emotional involvement with everyone and postpones payment of his loan. Second, Raymond withdraws into his “who on first” routine when someone invades his personal space, or when he is put in a new environment. Mr. Mooney hides behind attorney/client privilege when quizzed about the beneficiary of the inheritance. Dr. Bruner avoids naming the beneficiary by citing loyalty to Charlie’s father. Lenny bails himself out a problem with a client by getting Charlie to tell him what to say and lastly, Susanna avoids a sticky situation by leaving his boyfriend (Charlie) to deal with Raymond alone.

In my point of view, I am satisfied with how the characters portray their role. I am quite impressed by how Dustin Hoffman (Raymond) act of being autistic with his moves and the way he speaks. At first, I was annoyed to Charlie because of his selfishness and the way he treats his older brother. He is very impatient to him and he is greedy about the money. I was shock about the plot twist in the story that “Rain Man” which Charlie thought was his imaginary friend when he was little, was actually his older brother. And because of that, he developed a sense of responsibility to Raymond. He changed his attitude towards his brother and shows his care to him. It’s nice having a change of heart. I realized that no matter the problem is, relationship and your love to that person is stronger than that. Family matters the most. Everyone may leave you but family doesn’t. I am just discontented about the ending of the story because I am expecting more of their bonding together in the movie but I think it’s okay because it’s nice that he puts his brother’s need before his own. It supplies endless amounts of questions, such as “what makes us human?” or “how does a man who has a predisposition to not change and adapts to the situation, survive in a constantly changing environment?” And yet, the movie smartly never attempts to answer any of those questions, and left it hanging on an ambiguous, but ultimately satisfying note. I also learned that being selfish and greedy will never put you to a good situation. It will never make you happy because at the end of the day, according to the most famous phrase “No man is an island”. you will need someone to be on your side. I hope that many people will realize that a person with disorder needs proper care and adequate attention. One thing to note and praise the film is that it doesn’t try to make Raymond’s situation sympathetic or impose a certain form of our superiority towards autistic individuals. To feel pity and sympathy towards another is often times rooted in a sense of condescension towards the one being pitied. But to feel a feeling of tenderness and even love towards another, that is compassion. Yet, the movie succeeds in evoking this transcendent feeling of compassion towards a fictional character, now that is true achievement! The movie doesn’t provide a sentimental, but ultimately unrealistic picture of Raymond’s disorder. It doesn’t romanticize the whole issue at hand, it isn’t cheesy with its conclusions. Dustin Hoffman never portrays Raymond as cute and adorable, and is frank and realistic with the actions and behaviors of an autistic individual. Even Charlie, who was a self-serving, absolutely despicable selfish yuppie cannot help but undertake a personal transformation during the entire process of the movie. There are no spiritual revelations or sudden inspirations. But I think the most profound aspect of this whole movie is in the portrayal of Raymond. Movies are about changes, where an event happens, leading to an underlying shift of time, space, and character, and the characters in it moves toward a conclusion throughout the entire event, where they arise differently at the end then when they are from the start of a film. But in this film, everyone changes. Except for Raymond. In fact, the way I see it, Raymond doesn’t even know about the necessity or importance of change. This film is a very moving and touching film in that it celebrates our shared humanity, despite our difficulties and differences and disabilities. Most of all, it cherishes the virtue of acceptance, whether it is of fate or of each other. And in the end, we may come to the realization, that all of us be it “disabled” or not, are not so different from one another at all. After all, all of us have one thing or another to teach each other.

In the movie, Raymond has autism. Autism spectrum disorder, according to the American Psychiatric Association (APA), is a disorder that predominantly manifests in a person’s incapability to communicate and socialize “normally” with others, with the addition to render an autistic person with “repetitive, restricted, and stereotyped patterns of behavior, interests, and activities”. This basically means is that an autistic person will be unable to establish social interactions with others (such as playing with other children), to communicate even their basic needs with others, and they will become very intensely focused with their own activities and perform repetitive behaviors (such as adhering to a strict routine), stereotyped motor movements (such as rocking their bodies, flapping their hands, banging their heads), To the exclusion of everything else; and when someone tries to stop their behaviors or activities, they will grow extremely uncomfortable and will even engage in extreme emotional outbursts. And this is severe in that it is often a lifelong condition, with no-known cures, and unknown causes. And Raymond, despite all his deficiencies and disabilities, is a high functioning autistic savant. This, to put it in layman’s terms, is to say that Raymond will display outstanding skills and abilities in a particular field even without practice, and the communication and social disabilities is not as severe as those on the low functioning end. In Raymond’s case it is mathematical and memory capabilities, which the movie portrays in an extraordinarily uncanny and yet moving way. He memorized the Telephone Book up to ‘G’ and counted 246 toothpicks on the floor. I also observed that the qualitative impairment in social interaction exhibited by Raymond included: ‘disability in sensing input’; marked impairment in the use of multiple non verbal behavior such as he could not develop and maintain eye contact with anyone; Raymond’s facial expressions were flat most of the time; he made no use of relative body postures as well. He had no friends. He have interests such as keeping cards of his favorite players, reading and writing in his favorite notebook. He never enjoyed to be interrupted by anyone like his first encounter in Wall brook when Susanna picked up his cards, he did not like it. He became ‘anxious’ when Charlie picked up his book, He also lacked emotional and social reciprocity like he didn’t respond when he was told about his father’s death and he did not turn back when Charlie called him for introduction and then for a walk. He was also unable to initiate and sustain communication in a formal way his usual responses are “I’m an excellent driver,” “I don’t know”, “Yeah”, he was unable to understand the conversation. He also have restricted repetitive and stereotyped patterns o behavior like lights out at 11 pm, his bed by the window at sleep, watching TV at 3pm and having same kind of food in breakfast, lunch and dinner. The movie never shies away from the ultimate frustration and disturbance of a person who tries to get close to another autistic individual, as in the movie, Charlie’s anger and frustration culminates in one scene where he roared towards Raymond, “I think this autism is a bunch of shit! ‘Cause you can’t tell me that you’re not in there somewhere!”
The management that I observed in the movie is in the mental institution where the nurse explained to Charlie what disorder of Raymond have. The nurse also talks to Raymond in a direct and polite manner. He gives time to Raymond about his rituals and understands it. Raymond does not have a concept of health management; he simply does not understand it. He has adequate nutrition intake due to his rituals and routine while being institutionalized and while being with Charlie. He also has a regular pattern of activity and sleep while at the institution and with Charlie. At the end of the movie, during psychiatric evaluation, he was only asked if he wished to stay with his brother or return to Wall Brook but was not told directly about his inability to have normal social life or about his inability to make his own decisions. Raymond did not get some behavioral treatment during his stay in Wall Brook such as T.V sessions. He was given a separate room for his living, in which he was allowed to carry out his activities. They were effective in a sense that he could accept other people around him But it seems as if his stay in Wall Brook, contributed in maintaining his condition as his routine become a ritual for him. And he accepted no change in it at first when started living with Charlie. The significant chance in him was his response to simple jokes, made by his brother. There were no drugs mentioned in the movie.


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